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Defending the Philippines: Military Modernization and the Challenges Ahead
Center for New American Security East and South China Seas Bulletin 3

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by Richard Fisher, Jr.
Published on May 3rd, 2012

China’s increasing belligerence in the South China Sea has led the new president of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, to make the most credible policy commitment in decades to improve Philippine military capabilities. China can now threaten the ability of the Philippines to access resources located in its exclusive economic zone.1 China can also impede access to the sea lanes in the South China Sea, including those near the Philippines, which are crucial arteries for both regional and global trade. Under Aquino’s leadership, the government has launched programs to build up the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Philippine Navy (PN). How much assistance Manila will seek from the United States remains unclear.

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